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Is court software prejudicing the rights of criminal defendants?

Our Indiana law firm is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of criminal defendants.

Often, our work focuses on procedural due process. We bring improprieties in the arrest record or search methods utilized by the police to the court’s attention, which may result in that evidence being excluded. We also work to prevent aggressive prosecutors from attempts to bias the jury or manipulate court procedures.

According to a recent article, there may be a new culprit in procedural injustice: court computer management software systems. Digital records were intended to improve record keeping, tracking defendants throughout all stages of the criminal process. The software classifies defendants by the type of offense they were charged with, and it logs events such as warrant issuances or jail releases.

Yet according to court officials in an out-of-state jurisdiction, the software bugs from one brand, Odyssey Case Manager, have resulted in delayed prison releases, wrongful arrests, and inaccurate records. Nor may this logistical issue be an isolated incident: 600 counties in 21 different states also utilize this particular software system.

Needless to say, inaccurate records could greatly prejudice a criminal defendant’s options. Programs for avoiding a conviction and criminal record, like Indiana’s pretrial diversion program, are offered only for certain charges and to certain types of defendants. Broadly speaking, only first-time offenders and non-violent crimes are eligible, although each county sets specific requirements. This is just one example demonstrating the importance of accurate criminal record keeping.

The story is an important reminder that every criminal defendant needs an experienced legal advocate to fight for his or her rights. Our Indiana law firm has the experience to explore every option for our defendants. From plea bargains to pretrial diversion, we will work to get you the best outcome.

Source: Washington Post, “Court officials blame software for wrongful arrests, other legal mishaps,” Karen Turner, Dec. 20, 2016

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